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President Trump during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the East Room of the White House on July 30, 2018. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump’s call for unconditional talks with Iran should not have come as a surprise, given that he has made a habit of personally engaging American adversaries. Sometimes, as with North Korea, after threatening them; other times, as with Russia, after deferring. For Trump, unconditional talks with adversarial leaders — including those whom many in the international community deem toxic — are a feature, not a bug, of his diplomacy.

The big picture: Trump’s approach creates formidable risks, but cannot be dismissed out of hand. The open question is whether such an approach will advance America’s interests or undercut Trump's ability to secure results.

Trump's unorthodox diplomacy has had some qualified success, most notably with North Korea. Although it’s impossible to force North Korea to denuclearize without China's support, Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-un did get North Korea to turn over the bodies of deceased U.S. servicemen and halt nuclear testing indefinitely. However incremental such developments may be, they mark a measure of progress that recent years of methodical mid-level U.S. diplomacy could not achieve.

Yes, but: At the same time, Trump has attacked our traditional allies and alliances — including NATO, the G7, the WTO and the UN — creating anxiety about the stability of the system that has undergirded U.S. diplomacy for nearly seven decades.

What's next: Trump’s approach has rattled diplomatic cages at home and abroad. If he continues along the same path, he might be undercut by his own government, as when the National Security Council and Secretary of State Pompeo essentially retracted his offer to Iran (which the Iranians also rejected). A president’s diplomatic power rests on the value of his words; in order to deliver, Trump needs both the domestic and international support to back his up.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper

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Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Merrick Garland: Domestic terror is "still with us"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.